March 15, 2019
The annual meeting for both JBA and Asahi Gakuen was held at the Miyako Hybrid Hotel in Torrance on March 15, 2019. At the meetings, activity and financial reports for the 2018 fiscal year were presented, and the newly elected officers for the 2019 fiscal year were announced. Further, a Board of Directors meeting was held.
The annual meeting began with a report of activities by each of the committees in the 2018 fiscal year.
Business and Commerce Committee
In 2018, our main focus was on “strengthening relations with the local community.” Not only deepening existing ties with organizations such as LAEDC, WTCLA, U.S.-Japan Council, and Japan America Society, but new relationships, including those with government agencies such as the State and municipalities were cultivated. With the cooperation of our partner organizations such as the Consulate General of Japan and JETRO, we actively pursued strengthening relations, confirming synergy, and examined the best practices for external PR. In addition, we collaborated with JETRO Los Angeles and conducted the “2018 Survey Report on Japanese Companies in Southern California”.
Planning and Marketing Committee
This year’s motto for our committee was: “Planning and Marketing Committee that shines.” We held 8 seminars that provided useful information for businesses, which totaled 592 attendees. We made new changes to the annual softball tournament rules so both winning and losing teams could advance to the next round. In addition to the redesign of “JBA News,” we started a new column called “Interview with a JBA Company Thriving in America.” Additionally, we hosted our annual New Year’s Celebration, organized 3 pan-industry social mixers, and planned a family event.
Education and Cultural Committee
The US Educators to Japan (USEJ) program in its 43rd year sent 8 American educators to Japan, where they had the opportunity to inspect educational sites, conduct demonstration lessons, and experience a homestay. The Japan Enrichment Grant (JEG) program, which provides financial support to institutions that take part in educational activities related to Japan, awarded $30,000 to 22 schools and classes. Additionally, $87,000 was raised at the annual charity golf tournament where funds for such purposes are raised.
Downtown Regional Committee
The theme of our committee is to “learn more and love more about LA.” Our activities for getting involved and giving back to the local community included the annual Manzanar pilgrimage bus tour, trash pick-up hike, Japanese American National Museum visit, and participation in the Nisei Week Closing Event. Additionally, JBA members were given opportunities to attend a Major League baseball game, PGA Tour Event, join a Santa Barbara winery bus tour and visit the infamous Magic Castle.
South Bay Regional Committee
We held 10 events, totaling 500 participants. Community service activities included a beach clean-up as well as volunteering and picnicking at a botanical garden. With 125 participants, our Halloween Picnic turned out to be our biggest event of the year. Moreover, a Grand Mixer was held in collaboration with the Torrance Area Chamber of Commerce (TACC) to provide a networking event for American companies and JBA member companies in the South Bay area.
Orange County Regional Committee
We held our first ever OC Animal Care Volunteer community service event, which involved making toys for dogs at the center and providing children the opportunity to understand the importance of life through the informative session on its facility and pets, as well as by coming in contact with its rescue dogs. The 30th Annual OC Sports Day had a 10 percent increase in attendance from the previous year with 479 attendees. The Local School Seminar was held again this year with the full support of the Irvine Unified School District.
After each committee delivered its report, the 2018 prospective income and expenditure report was announced. Next, the 2019 JBA executive board was appointed; all 34 members were approved unanimously.
Then, the meeting shifted to the Asahi Gakuen General Meeting. Asahi Gakuen, a Japanese Saturday school established by the JBA in 1969, currently enrolls a total of 1327 students across its Santa Monica, San Gabriel, Torrance, and Orange campuses. Its activity report outlined tuition reform after 10 years, faculty training, staff appreciation party, Orange campus relocation plan, high school division improvement plans, and continued work on a commemorative project for its 50th anniversary. Thereafter, all 13 candidates for the 2019 Asahi Gakuen Board of Directors were approved.
Following this, the first meeting of the 2019 JBA and Asahi Gakuen Board of Directors was held and the officers for the new fiscal year were approved.
A reception followed at the patio once these meetings were adjourned. Newly appointed JBA President Hideki Nakashiro stood on stage to greet the crowd and delivered the following message: “From all the past JBA activities, I’ve really come to understand that JBA stands upon the tremendous support from your colleagues and families as well as all your volunteering and active participation. I hope that in turn, JBA will function as a place you can all count on for guidance and resolving issues, and that this will tie into the development of the Japanese American community and companies as well as to the contribution to local communities.”
Next up was Akira Chiba, Consul General of Japan in Los Angeles, who expressed his anticipation for the new officers. He also conveyed his gratitude for JBA’s daily efforts in supporting the Consulate-General of Japan in Los Angeles. Furthermore, he highlighted the fact that Japanese companies generate the highest number of jobs created as well as salaries paid out of all foreign companies, praising the success of these companies.
Lastly, Keiichi Nishimoto, Chief Executive Director of JETRO Los Angeles spoke. Not only did he remark on the various activities of Japanese companies but also on the importance of JBA’s actions moving forward. Thereafter, he led the toast.
2019 JBA President Nakashiro presents a plaque of appreciation to 2018 President Okawa
Consul General Chiba expresses his appreciation towards JBA and his hopes for its future endeavors
Mr. Nishimoto, Chief Executive Director of JETRO Los Angeles, leads the toast with vigor